Game Name: ELEA
Release Date: September 6th, 2018
Platforms: Windows and XBOX One
When I first watched the trailer for this game, it looked pretty interesting. It seemed to be a a space discovery adventure similar to The Turing Test. The trailer can be seen below.
I was really excited. Let us see if it was as good as I thought that it would be.
The story is a little weird. At least this is the case for episode 1. Directly from the Project ELEA website:
In the year 2093, humanity’s hope is dwindling. Some 20 years ago, a neurological mutation broke out, causing uncontrollable rage in every Earth-born child. No real cure was found except for an intervention that pacifies the children, but also makes them cold and lifeless. The pandemic set off a demographic crisis, making the colonization of a new world an urgent necessity. Luckily, an Earth-like exoplanet within an achievable distance from the Solar system had been recently discovered.
Pooling volunteers from around the globe, a first-of-a-kind interstellar spacecraft was built and sent to colonize the yet unexplored planet. The gargantuan ship was named Pilgrimage, embodying the hopes of all of the humanity. To everyone’s dismay, shortly after a successful arrival, the Pilgrimage went on total radio silence. What caused it remains a mystery.
13 years later, research starship Recovery has arrived on site to investigate the fate of the Pilgrimage. The player takes the role of the space scientist River Elea Catherine Jones, a member of the Recovery’s skeleton crew. She is driven above all by a personal goal – to find her husband Ethan, who occupied a prominent position on the Pilgrimage’s scientific crew.
I had to actually get this from the main website as the story is a little weird and from what I played not very linear. Finding the words to properly describe the story was a little challenging.
The game plays from the first person perspective. You control and walk around with your character Elea Catherine Jones.
The controls could be ok but some of the buttons do not always work as intended when pressing them. On the XBOX controller, if you press the left shoulder button you are supposed to run. However, depending on the timing and how you press the button will determine if it works or not.
The first part of the game is an unofficial tutorial as you learn how the controls work.
In terms of the story, you start off pregnant and trying to talk to your kid. Then you are brought to this psychedelic virtual reality world. Then you are brought back to the ship and you are not pregnant. Many times I scratched my head on what was happening.
You are given objectives for every chapter of the story. Although these are not always clear in terms of what to do. It gives you an objective but it is up to you to discover what the next steps are. Which in most cases this would be fun, but the details are often very vague and it is hard to see what needs to be done. There is a lot of trial and error.
I must admit that some of the colours in this game, make the Atari colours looking tame.
ELEA - Sample Gameplay
What can I say about this game. I think that it had the potential to be good but it is too disjointed for me to keep interest. I assume that there will be at least 3 or 4 episodes and I was psyched for it. However, now I may not even try to play the rest of the game.
First of all the game is buggy as hell. There were a few times where I had to restart a level as the loading did not work properly. Also the transition between one scene to another is often buggy. I do not know if this is because it is on the XBOX One, but it took away from the experience. It feels like an unfinished BETA product.
The visuals are a mixed bag. There are times when it looks really good and other times it looks unpolished or washed out. There are also parts of the game where the focus seems to be off. I can understand when I play a pregnant character, but when I am not, why do things go out of focus.
I understand what they were going for in terms of the chapters and the "missions" for each chapter. They want you to discover the game and that is one of main goals of the game. However, sometimes the instructions are vague. For example, at one point it seems like I am in a simulation. I am what seems o be i na room near a body of water. The instructions do not tell you anything that you need to do. It is all trial and error. That part was so weird but I stayed in that room for about 20 minute trying to find out what to do. I get it they were trying to get that X-Files vibe but you need to keep the interest of the player.
The story for me is what above all else, takes away from the experience. The story feels disjointed. It seems that you jump from one part to the other. I guess that is what they were going for, but they needed to make something a little less disjointed.
I stopped playing this game about 3/4's in. When you finish a chapter normally you would feel a sense of accomplishment. However, every time a section finishes it feels like you are propelled to something new which has no bearing on what you just did. The feeling of accomplishment does not seem to be there.
I am someone that normally loves these types of games. I really loved The Turing Test recently. That was more of a puzzle game than an adventure game but I felt the story was progressing as I solved more puzzles. Same thing for the TellTale Series of games. You always feel like you are progressing. Here it feels like you always have more questions than answers and I really hope that the next instalment of this game has the bugs and story straighten out.
Rating: 1.5 Space Agents out of 5
Did you play this game? What did you think?